Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Science education in Singapore schools: Fact, Science or Science Fiction?

Amran, an educational consultant, thinks that in Singapore, we don’t teach our students science but instead what we teach them sometimes is bordering on science fiction. From Singapore Educational Consultants:
All too often what goes on is the teaching to the examinations. This implies again rote-learning and mechanical operations. Little time time is spent to teach the scientific approach which is about asking questions and testing hypothesis. Little effort is spent at making observations and inferences or deductions and classifying data and trying to understand processes. Laboratory work in schools usually only have students follow written set of instructions about what to do and is left for them to carry out the experiment and draw their conclusions from “their” experiments. Students don’t create their own experiments to answer their own questions. We in fact don’t teach them to ask questions. We don't encourage them to be curious. This was a point raised by the American master teacher too. At Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve, she noticed that at the exhibits were all in the “telling” mode. Information was given about the plants and animals found there. But what about the questions? I remember her saying that it is not important to provide the answers to the questions as what we want the visitors to do is to think. This is what science education is about.

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